In response to requests for The Exmoor Society to comment on George Monbiot’s views recently expressed in BBC1 West’s Inside Out programme on Wednesday 13 January 2016, the Society makes the following statement:
The Exmoor Society believes the moorland is an essential wild landscape and protected species’ habitat that led to Exmoor being designated as a National Park. In 2004, we commissioned a report ‘Moorlands at a Crossroads’ (available on our website) that said the Exmoor moorlands were undervalued and were more important than had previously been thought, including the essential role of grazing animals, sheep and cattle, and traditional hill farming including swaling that has been practised for centuries.
We have now commissioned an update on the report which will be finished in time for the Society and ENPA’s Spring Conference on 22 April 2016 on Exmoor’s Future Landscapes, where we will be debating many of the issues raised by George Monbiot.
Exmoor is a small National Park with no vast areas of moorland and as a cultural landscape integrates landscape and wildlife with people and their cultural heritage. The ENPA has excellent staff who are forward-thinking and recognise the mix of landscapes on Exmoor and the special qualities that are unique to the place.